What’s it like?
Although the Orlando is based on the same Delta platform as the Astra, it feels a size bigger. The cockpit is roomy, with plenty of shoulder space and the steeply sloping centre console presents the controls at very useable angle. The gear lever and handbrake are also particularly well-placed.
Aside from the ubiquitous mega-cupholders between the front seats there’s a small console bin and the very clever cubbyhole hidden behind the stereo’s fascia, which pivots up and over for access.
Middle row passengers get decent knee and headroom, while the third row has headroom for adults but child-only legroom. Plastic quality in the cockpit is pretty good, but rather more prosaic in the cabin and boot.
Overall, though, the Orlando feels robustly and honestly constructed. Inside, it doesn’t disguise its role as a family workhorse, even if the exterior – with its eye-catching grille design and brash detailing – suggests something more engaging.
Although the Orlando is hardly about pure driving pleasure, the range contains a big surprise. The 1.8 petrol unit is quite smooth and decently refined, but would probably be marginal will a full compliment of passengers. The 1.4-litre petrol turbo due later next year will be a better bet.
However, potential Orlando buyers should look no further than the 2.0-litre diesel engine, especially when hooked up to the six-speed autobox.
This engine – in stark contrast to the unit fitted to the Insignia - is refined, punchy and smooth and well matched to the slick six-speed manual. But it’s also particularly impressive in conjunction with the autobox.
According to Orlando vehicle line director Wilhelm Reinheimer, this ‘Family Z’ engine is a Korean design, based on an old Euro IV-compatible unit, but extensively re-engineered. He also says that the Korean expertise with automatic transmissions is the reason for the unusually slick pairing of a diesel and torque converter auto.
Otherwise, the Orlando has a quiet cabin and it runs straight and true at motorway speeds. It’s not exactly a driver’s car, but it resists body roll well even if the steering loses weight and feel on longer bends.
On the Spanish test roads it also rode well, though poor surfaces were mostly absent. The severe Spanish anti-speeding ridges did, though, resound through the structure, so we’d have to reserve judgment until we get the car on UK roads.
Should I buy one?
If you prefer the unconventional looks of Orlando compared to the sloping-nose conventionality of the opposition, the Chevy offers significant advantage for the private buyer.
Chevy’s ‘5-year Promise’ gives you five years’ warranty, servicing and roadside assistance. You are even insured against the car failing its first and second MOTs.
In diesel auto form, the Orlando is particularly easy and willing and it would make a very relaxing and useful family wagon. However, base diesel form, especially with 5-year back-up plan, offers a tempting mix for the private buyer.
Chevrolet Orlando 2.0 VDCI Auto LT
Price: £20,395; Top Speed: 111mph; 0-62mph: 10.6sec; Economy: 40.4mpg (combined); CO2: 186g/km; Kerb weight: 1659kg: Engine: 4 cyls, in line, 1998cc, turbo diesel; Power: 161bhp at 3800rpm; Torque: 266lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: Six speed auto